Major markets laud production records

EUROPE: Denmark, the UK and Germany beat green power records in 2017, on the back of continual wind capacity growth globally.

Germany's wind fleet produced more than 100TWh for the first time in 2017 (pic: Philip May / WikiCommons)
Germany's wind fleet produced more than 100TWh for the first time in 2017 (pic: Philip May / WikiCommons)

In Denmark, wind power supplied a record high of 43% of the country's electricity consumption last year.

According to the Danish Wind Turbine Association (DWTA), the nation's turbines produced 13.9TWh of power last year, up 1TWh from 2016 and almost back to the record 14.1TWh produced in 2015.

DWTA also said in spite of the increased levels of supply, the wind electricity price increased 8% to DKK 0.202/kWh (€0.027/kWh).

The average electricity price in Denmark was DKK 0.229/kWh, according to DWTA using data from Nord Pool Spot.

"The rising price for wind-generated electricity is an expression of a better functioning electricity market, where Danish wind energy can be sold at higher prices.

"In 2017, capacity for trade between West Denmark and Germany improved, but other factors, such as fuel prices and water balance in the Nordic countries have also [played a part]," said DWTA's new senior economist Søren Klinge.

The association also said the average price for wind-generated electricity increased last year despite periods of negative pricing over the Christmas period.

In one hour on 24 December, electricity prices reached DKK -0.373/kWh.

Danish wind turbines produced 2.5GWh in this hour, although the forecast wind-power production, based on weather forecasts, was 4.2GWh.

"The negative electricity prices are a phenomenon which fortunately only occurs a few hours a year," DWTA said.

"The big difference between the forecast for wind production and actual production shows that Danish wind turbines largely responded to the electricity market's price signal, as it managed to cut production nearly 1,700MWh compared with expectations," Klinge said.

"The flexibility of production on Danish wind turbines therefore contributes to the electricity market becoming more efficient.

"The next step must be that Danish politicians agree to lower taxes on electricity so that production from Danish wind turbines can be used to an increasing degree for heat production and transport," he added.

Germany

Wind also produced a record amount of electricity in Germany, according to data from the Fraunhofer Institute.

Almost 104TWh of wind power was produced in Germany, roughly 32% more than 2016.

Wind was the second largest producer of electricity in Germany, only behind lignite coal, which produced 133.7TWh – down 0.7% year-on-year and curtailed at times of high wind production, the research institute said.

Lower production at nuclear plants, down 10%, and hard coal plants, down 16%, meant renewables in Germany supplied 15% more electricity than last year and provided 35% of Germany's total supply.

Germany's onshore wind capacity produced 85TWh in 2017, 20TWh more than in 2016, while the offshore sector accounted for 17.4TWh, up from 12TWh in 2016.

UK

Meanwhile, the UK broke 13 renewable energy records in 2017, making last year the greenest year on record, according to an analysis of National Grid data by charity WWF.

On 21 April 2017, the UK achieved the first day since the industrial revolution in which no coal was burned for electric power, thanks to the falling cost of offshore wind.

The longest period with no coal generation was 40 hours 35 minutes on 28-29 October. And 7 June was the first time that wind, nuclear and solar generated more electricity than gas and coal combined.

Last year was also the greenest summer on record, with 52% of electricity coming from low carbon sources between 21 June and 22 September, WWF said.

Carbon emissions in the electricity sector have fallen by 50% since 2012 in the UK, making it the fourth cleanest country in Europe and the seventh cleanest in the world.

Global

According to preliminary figures compiled by Windpower Intelligence, the research and data arm of Windpower Monthly, globally at least 51GW of new wind capacity was added in 2017, with total capacity now standing at around 517.5GW.

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